NORTHBROOK, Ill. – A new law backed by state Rep. Jonathan Carroll, D-Northbrook, will make health care more affordable by curbing prescription drug prices and requiring pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) to keep customers informed about less-expensive generic alternatives.
“Everyday, big insurance companies and pharmaceutical corporations are hiking medical costs and middle-class families have to bear the financial burden,” Carroll said. “Patients have the right to affordable health care, and nothing should be blocking them from accessing more affordable alternatives.”
Carroll passed House Bill 465, which will curb skyrocketing prescription drug prices by creating comprehensive regulations for PBMs including requirements that they inform customers of cheaper prescription alternatives, comply with oversight from the Department of Insurance and pay fines of up to $50,000 for violating the Illinois Administrative Code in their bookkeeping procedures. PBMs set drug prices on behalf of insurance companies. Until now, they have operated with virtually no oversight even though they manage public money through Medicaid, as well as managing prescription programs for private insurance and self-insured plans. The bill also protects the rights of patients in the emergency room by prohibiting any insurer from denying coverage until the patient is considered stable.
Combined, these measures should help substantially lower the cost of health care in Illinois. The legislation received vast bipartisan support and is now law.
“Our community deserves a medical system that is focused on patients, not profits; that is designed to help people who need health care, not pad the bottom lines of powerful corporations,” Carroll said. “I will work hard to further the progress we have made with this law, which is a big step towards curtailing skyrocketing prescription costs and building a stronger Illinois.”